Bruce Forsyth – An Iconic Entertainer

by | Aug 28, 2017 | History, News

With a career spanning over 75 years, Bruce Forsyth will be fondly remembered as a great actor, comedian, singer and presenter.

Forsyth had his first taste of show business in his early teens. He made his TV debut in 1939 as well as appearing on stage in many theatre productions.

Sunday Night at the London Palladium
Forsyth landed his first TV presenting role in 1958 as host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. The variety show featured some of the biggest stars and showcased dance acts, comedians, singers and a plethora of diverse performances. It was one of the first TV shows broadcast on commercial television. The show was hugely popular with viewers, making Forsyth a household name. The game Beat the Clock featured couples having to complete a task or perform a specific trick in order to win a prize.

Bruce Forsyth standing in front of Beat The Clock

Bruce Forsyth standing in front of Beat The Clock.

Bruce Forsyth on stage with 147 members of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium team

The cast and crew of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. 21st March 1959.

The Generation Game
Further success followed with The Generation Game which Bruce hosted from 1971 – 1977 and 1990 – 1994. The show occupied the popular Saturday night slot and attracted huge audiences. The show pitched families against each other with different generations of the same family competing. The famous conveyor belt, Bruce’s silhouette ‘thinker pose’ and the classic catchphrases “Nice to see you, to see you… nice!” and “Didn’t they do well” epitomise the show and are distinctly memorable many years later. Forsyth also wrote and sung the the theme tune “Life is the Name of the Game”.

Bruce Forsyth taking part in a wrestling task on the Generation Game, 1972

Bruce Forsyth during a wrestling game segment of The Generation Game, November 1972.

Play Your Cards Right
Bruce Forsyth is also known for presenting the popular Play Your Cards Right (1980 – 1987 and 1990 – 1994) which spawned the popular phrases “Ok dollies do your dealing” and “I’m the leader of the pack which makes me such a lucky jack”. Bruce’s Price is Right (1995 to 2001) was one of the first game shows to give away high value prizes. The contestants could win cars, holidays and large cash prizes. The giveaways on Bruce’s version of the show were of significantly more value than previous versions of the game show.

Bruce Forsyth holding some of the playing cards that were used on Play Your Cards Right

Bruce Forsyth holding the playing cards which were used on Play Your Cards Right.

Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing welcomed Bruce as host from its conception in 2004. He remained on the show for over 10 years presenting alongside Tess Daly. The show has remained popular, firmly cementing Forsyth as a legendary Saturday night entertainer.

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly attending a Strictly Come Dancing red carpet event

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly attending a Strictly Come Dancing red carpet event in 2012.

Forsyth received a CBE in 2011 for his services to entertainment and charity. In 2013 he received a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest running career of any male entertainer. He took to the stage at Glastonbury that same year, becoming the oldest person ever to perform at the festival.

Bruce Forsyth was an incredibly endearing and engaging performer and host who could effortlessly entertain his audience. His gags and use of double entendres were fun and humorous as was his ability to poke fun at the competitors on his game shows. He inspired a generation of future entertainers and will always be fondly remembered for his iconic catchphrases and entertaining family shows.